Connecting NUC to Chord Qutest

I am currently running ROCK on a NUC which is connected directly to the router via ethernet. I have a Bluesound Vault 2i connected to the router via ethernet. This setup works quite well. I am thinking of moving to a Chord Qutest and just wondered–if I decide to go that route-- exactly how one would connect the Qutest to the router via ethernet, as it has BNC inputs as opposed to the standard RJ-45 connectors on the router.
As a side note, if anyone else has made a similar move I would be interested in opinions on sound differences before shelling out almost $2K. Thanks.

Hi @Jim_White1. You don’t connect it to the router directly, you’d need some kind of streaming device with SPDIF/TOSLINK output. I think that the Bluesound Vault would fit the bill, but you won’t be replacing it, just bypassing it’s internal DAC. The Qutest has 2xBNC, TOSLINK optical and a USB input.

You could connect the Coax out from the Bluesound to one of the BNC inputs on the Qutest, there’s plenty of cables that fit the bill, or get and TOSLINK cable and use the optical out.

If you’re planning on retiring the Vault or want the Qutest in a different location you’ll need some kind of streaming device. I use a Raspberry Pi with a HiFiBerry Digi+ HAT with Roon Bridge installed for similar.

The Bluesound is already certified Roon ready, so that would certainly be easier as running a toslink out is a simple move. Thanks.

Jim, provided that your NuC and your Qutest are in the same location, all that is required is a USB cable. I have this setup in my office and it sounds fantastic, the Chord Qutest really rocks! A purist will suggest that you may get electrical noise from the NuC, while my setup sounded great, I purchased a fanless case from Akasa. Was a fun project to breakdown the Nuc and install into the case, brought some improvement in sound which already rocked hard!

1 Like

I have my Nucleus connected via USB to my Chord TT, and it works perfectly.
As has already been said, all you need is a USB cable to connect the two. Nice and simple.
I understand that Chord maintain that because their DAC’s completely eliminate jitter, that their DAC’s are ‘immune’ to differing ‘qualities’ of USB cable (?). However, I can’t say I’ve tried different USB cables to find out myself. Perhaps other members have some experience?

1 Like

I can confirm that I can’t hear any difference between USB input and TOSLINK via ethernet. I assumed from @Jim_White1’s original post that the NUC and the DAC are in different locations, hence the need for ethernet. Chord claim galvanic isolation for the USB input so noise shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve used all inputs at one time or another and not been able to convince myself I can hear any differences. I’m not claiming my hearing is anything special though so YMMV…

1 Like

You are correct in that the NUC resides beside the router–not near the DAC. The Vault, however, is connected to the same router with a 20’ ethernet cable, so it seems it would be simple to connect the NUC via ethernet at that end, and move the Vault over beside the router. I am actually only using the Vault to rip and serve as a backup drive anyway since my NUC is connected to a 2 Tb SSD via USB, serving as my source drive. The USB/Qutest setup eliminates the need for the Vault as a player but it would still be available on the network for copying ripped FLAC files to the main drive.
One disadvantage I can see to this setup is that by sacrificing the Vault as the player, I would also sacrifice it as an Airplay device. Unless I am mistaken, the NUC is not going to show as an Airplay option.

I’m pretty sure that’s the case, you’d loose an Airplay option. Given they’re all hard wired to the router you’ll have no/very rare problems with ethernet. If the AirPlay’s important then no need to change the setup, I think it’s six of one, etc and it gets easy to overthink these things.

1 Like

Well, the nice thing is that it is an easy swap and I can audition both. If I hear no difference then it is a no brainer; if I hear a significant difference going the USB route then I have some thinking to do. Thanks for all of the input.

This topic was automatically closed 36 hours after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.